One of the dirty little secrets of staging a production such as this is there’s often nearly as much drama behind the scenes as there is on stage. In some productions … even more so! And in most productions, by the time the show opens we tidy up the loose ends, resolve all of the backstage drama, and present to you – our audience – a polished and professional production that seems like it must’ve gone flawlessly from auditions to opening night. This production of Guys & Dolls is absolutely up to par with what you’ve come to expect from The Actorsingers, but we’ve had to overcome … well … a few more “challenges” than your average show, and the pulling together of this theater community to make sure that this production not only takes place, but excels, is inspiring enough to give you a little glimpse behind the scenes.
Auditions for Guys & Dolls took place about 3 months ago – February 20th and 21st. As with all shows, once the cast list is posted some people are elated and others are extremely disappointed. Most shows commonly end up with 2 or 3 actors that change their minds (for a variety of reasons) and decide not to do the show and withdraw within the first week or so. Our show got off to a rockier start than most, and it seemed like every week somebody else was dropping out and we were shuffling the cast list yet again. But the cast persevered and adjusted, sometimes even doubling roles, as in the case of our actor (Don Higgins) playing both Rusty Charlie and Angie the Ox, affectionately known now as Angie the Rusty Charlie Ox!
Several weeks into the process, we then had our set designer and lead builder withdraw, and we needed to circle the wagons, call upon the “go to guys” on the technical side of the house, and come up with a game plan. Again, the community part of theater took root, and we scheduled numerous sessions to build and paint the set on nonrehearsal days, so that members of the cast could chip in (which they did).
On the 11th of April, we were shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden loss of one of our ensemble members and our original Master of Ceremonies for the Hot Box, Joe Iaquinta. Joe was loved by all, and his death was a very difficult obstacle to overcome. But our community prevailed again, and Bob Frasca (past president of the Actorsingers and Sky Masterson from our 1998 production) stepped up to bat and agreed to be our new MC.
And with a few weeks left before opening night, our original choreographer had to withdraw. Once again, the community circled the wagons, split the task of creating and teaching the choreography, and we made it through yet another obstacle. So as you sit back and enjoy a fabulous production, please take a moment to consider becoming part of the Actorsingers family. It’s a wonderful family, very welcoming, hard working and we always love to see new faces…..the group definitely puts the “community” into Community Theatre.
On with the show!
Paul Metzger, Director